Next Generation Customer Experience Through an Omnichannel Contact Centre

Frank Sherlock explains why ‘omnichannel’ is no longer just a buzzword and how it can provide next generation customer experience. 

I just attended the CCW 2017 Conference and the main theme, “NextGen Customer Contact: Delivering a connected customer journey through digital and omnichannel”, seems to confirm the following notion…

Consumers expect more flexible and fulfilling experiences with brands in every sector.

But, I think that many businesses are still walking past the opportunity to differentiate and build the loyalty that these expectations offer.

So, WHY is omnichannel so important when it comes to customer experience?

Unlike multichannel, omnichannel is channel agnostic. This means that customers can receive the same level of support through whichever medium they prefer, without the need to repeat the same information to multiple agents on different channels. This is because those agents will already have access to the relevant information.

So, if you want to deliver a great customer experience, it’s important to identify ALL the touchpoints between the customer and the brand, and create a 360 degree view of their interactions throughout the customer journey.

Are we there yet and are we ready for it?

2017 is thought to be the year that will see digital channels overtaking phone channels. I’m not quite sure we are there yet. But, I’m certain many businesses are not ready for the change.

The 2016 Global Contact Centre Benchmarking Report found that, while over half (51%) of UK consumers are comfortable crossing back and forth between multiple channels, even within a single interaction, businesses are still unable to deliver true omnichannel service through their contact centres.

In fact, just 36% of businesses said they could track a customer journey across multiples channels. This fundamental gap between consumer expectations and contact centre capability could really impact business performance.

To help focus your omnichannel efforts I have put together four important tips.

1. Don’t be tempted to bolt on extra applications to try and achieve omnichannel capability

To be able to deliver an optimum experience to your customers you need to make sure you can see a ‘picture’ of all their interactions in one system that allows you to have a single point of access to data.

This is important because it’s not uncommon for customers to use multiple channels to resolve a single issue. Don’t be tempted to bolt on extra applications to try and achieve multi-channel as you will need to dedicate separate resources to analyse each channel.

If your analytics software doesn’t cover all the methods a customer chooses to communicate with you, the vital pieces of information will not be available when an agent needs them. Can you really afford to have one missing interaction spoil your customers’ experience or even make them leave?

2. Don’t send a customer away unhappy because you can’t see the whole picture

Imagine that a customer wants to know about the progress of their order and makes a call, only to be told to go back online as the full order tracking is available there. This experience is then shared on Twitter.

While the call wouldn’t necessarily have sounded like it had gone badly, the result is the customer is no longer on the optimal path for an experience that delights. By understanding the point of departure, in this case, identifying the sentiment in a social media post, and then connecting it with other interactions, it is possible to understand how these may affect the outcome of the entire journey – this is true omnichannel analysis.

3. Don’t rely on satisfaction scores that only measure at certain touchpoints

It’s important to assess satisfaction based on multiple interactions. Otherwise, how do you know how happy a customer is with the entire experience you deliver?  Was the customer happy before a bad experience?  Has the satisfaction level changed after you made up for a bad experience? It is important to understand the true “voice of the customer” based on the entire experience received.

4. Don’t guess what the customer journey looks like

Most organisations only analyse a small proportion of customer interactions – typically less than 3% which makes it impossible to identify the complete customer journey, pick up on trends or identify possible problems or opportunities.

Capturing and analysing 100% of your customer interactions not only provides the ability to monitor the whole journey but also enables a company to improve regulatory compliance and if needed, prove adherence.

It enables agents to upsell and cross-sell. It also helps managers to identify opportunities for coaching and training.

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